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Larry Gossett

Political activist Larry Gossett was born Lawrence Edward Gossett on February 21, 1945, in Seattle, Washington. The son of Johnnie Evelyn Carter Gossett and Nelman Gossett, he grew up in Seattle’s southern and central areas. Gossett attended High Point and Horace Mann Elementary Schools and graduated from Franklin High School, where he was point guard on the basketball team. In 1963, Gossett was one of the few black males to attend the University of Washington.

In 1966, Gossett spent a year with Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA). Through VISTA, he received community organizing training with Harlem Youth, Inc. Gossett came back to Seattle as “Oba” and went on to become the school’s first student to graduate with a degree in African American Studies. Gossett was a member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and a founder of the Seattle chapter of the Black Panther Party. He was a co-founder of the University of Washington’s Black Student Union (UWBSU) and used the organization to leverage the University of Washington’s Black Studies Program. Gossett attended the Black Youth Conference in Los Angeles, California in 1967 that featured James Forman, Harry Edwards, Tommie Smith and John Carlos. He was the organizer of the Seattle Alliance of Black Student Unions and helped organize nearly a dozen high school, middle school and collegiate black student unions throughout the Seattle area. On March 29, 1968, Gossett was arrested, but was later exonerated after leading a sit-in to protest the treatment of black students at Franklin High School.

In 1982, Gossett founded the Minority Executive Directors Coalition (MEDC). He served as the Executive Director for the Central Area Motivation Program (CAMP) from 1979 to 1993 and helped to provide job assistance, a food bank and programs for at-risk youth. In the mid-1980s, Gossett was involved in the presidential campaign of Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. and was an organizer for the Rainbow Coalition. As president of the Rainbow Push Coalition, Gossett supported Norman B. Rice’s mayoral candidacy in 1989. In 1991, Washington’s King County Council was expanded from nine to thirteen members, and in 1993, Gossett won a seat representing Washington’s District 10, an area stretching from the Montlake Cut to Beacon Hill. As a councilman, Gossett has dedicated his time to the reformation of the criminal justice system, better public transportation and job opportunities for the poor and minorities.

Gossett serves as a member and chair of the King County Council. Gossett, a high profile black activist with strong ties to the Hispanic, Asian and Native American communities, was a prime mover in 1996 for changing the symbol of King County (Seattle) from 19th century slaveholder, Rufus Devane King to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The county’s official logo was changed to an image of Dr. King. There is a fifty-eight minute documentary produced by University of Washington television that features Gossett’s BSU activism. The film is called In Pursuit of Justice.

Accession Number

A2007.305

Sex

Male

Interview Date

10/25/2007

Last Name

Gossett

Maker Category
Schools

Franklin High School

West Seattle Elementary School

Horace Mann Elementary School

George Washington Middle School

James A. Garfield High School

University of Washington

First Name

Larry

Birth City, State, Country

Seattle

HM ID

GOS02

Favorite Season

Christmas

State

Washington

Favorite Vacation Destination

Santa Barbara, California

Favorite Quote

I Am Proud To Serve You.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Washington

Birth Date

2/21/1945

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Seattle

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Pork Chops

Short Description

Civil rights activist and county council member Larry Gossett (1945 - ) represented the State of Washington's District 10. He was involved in the presidential campaign of Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. and was an organizer for the Rainbow Coalition.

Employment

Harlem Youth Opportunities Unlimited

Central Area Motivation Program

King County Council

Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity, University of Washington

Favorite Color

Purple

DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Larry Gossett's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Larry Gossett lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Larry Gossett talks about the history of Nigton, Texas

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Larry Gossett describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Larry Gossett talks about his parents' education

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Larry Gossett describes his father's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Larry Gossett describes his father's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Larry Gossett talks about his father's profession

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Larry Gossett recalls how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Larry Gossett describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Larry Gossett describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Larry Gossett talks about his elementary school education in Seattle, Washington, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Larry Gossett describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Larry Gossett remembers his favorite music and television shows

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Larry Gossett recalls Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s visit to Seattle, Washington

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Larry Gossett talks about his elementary school education in Seattle, Washington, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Larry Gossett remembers Washington's notable African American athletes

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Larry Gossett recalls playing basketball in high school

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Larry Gossett describes his decision to attend the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Larry Gossett talks about the racial demographics of the University of Washington

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Larry Gossett recalls the racial climate at the University of Washington

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Larry Gossett describes his early perceptions of the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Larry Gossett remembers joining the Volunteers in Service to America

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Larry Gossett recalls his work with Volunteers in Service to America in New York City

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Larry Gossett talks about joining the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Larry Gossett describes the Harlem Youth Opportunities Unlimited programs

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Larry Gossett talks about his civil rights activities in Seattle, Washington

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Larry Gossett remembers the 1967 Black Youth Conference

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Larry Gossett recalls the agendas of the University of Washington's Black Student Union

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Larry Gossett describes the Black Student Union's sit-in at the University of Washington, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Larry Gossett describes the Black Student Union's sit-in at the University of Washington, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Larry Gossett recalls his arrest in 1968

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Larry Gossett talks about his early political aspirations

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Larry Gossett remembers his time in jail during the Seattle riots

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Larry Gossett describes his trial in 1968

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Larry Gossett describes his role as a student recruiter for the University of Washington

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Larry Gossett talks about the founding of Seattle's Black Panther Party

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Larry Gossett describes the Central Area Motivation Program

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Larry Gossett talks about the Rites of Passage Experience program at the Central Area Motivation Program

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Larry Gossett recalls his election to the King County Council

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Larry Gossett talks about the renaming of King County, Washington, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Larry Gossett talks about the renaming of King County, Washington, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Larry Gossett talks about the original namesake of King County

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Larry Gossett describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Larry Gossett reflects upon his life

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Larry Gossett reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Larry Gossett talks about his family

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Larry Gossett describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Larry Gossett narrates his photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Larry Gossett narrates his photographs, pt. 2